Inheritance law is the work of specialists
Inheritance law is an interface of many areas of law
Clashes involving inheritance law often relate to past pain
Inheritance law is a process of coping with bereavement
Disputes about an inheritance delay closure and this process of coping
Inheritance law and estate settlement
I have been intensely involved with inheritance law since 1994. I conducted doctoral research into the right of usufruct and published a doctoral thesis titled Usufruct in 2001. In those years I delved deeply into the field of inheritance law and was therefore able to prepare for the new inheritance legislation that was introduced in 2003.
Active since 1999
Since 1999, I have been representing clients dealing with problematic inheritance settlements. For example, conflicts can arise regarding the division of an inheritance or regarding the interpretation of provisions in the will or the intentions of the testator.
The role of lawyers and judges
Since the introduction of the new inheritance law, lawyers and judges are far more involved in the settlement of estates. The law provides for a number of ways of requesting a judicial decision, such as the appointment or dismissal of a liquidator or executor or the resolution of a dispute between an heir and an executor about the sale of an asset in the estate.
Inheritance law is a complicated area of law
Inheritance law is an area of law entirely onto itself. It is a complex and extensive area which, moreover, is in full development since so many rules are either unclear or do not work, as is highlighted by the problem of paying the liquidator’s fee from an estate that has insufficient funds, for example. This is why it is important and indeed interesting to closely follow court decisions.
The fable of the evil stepmother
Settling an inheritance is often difficult because the death of the testator changes the relationship between the heirs and opposing interests come to the surface. Many problems occur in blended families. If the testator has children from another marriage, the surviving spouse and the testator’s children often find themselves at loggerheads.
Together with a number of inheritance law specialists, I developed a specialist training course for the Association of Family Lawyers and Divorce Mediators with the aim of improving knowledge of inheritance law among lawyers. Approximately 25 lawyers have completed this training course each year since its establishment in 2012. The legal system is also seeking to recognise inheritance law as a specialism given the rise in the number of cases year-on-year.